The Salt Lake City teen band VIA outplayed 148 bands throughout the U.S. and placed third in the “Battle-of-the-Bands” contest, sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants.---
The bands were judged by a panel of high-profile musical experts, including Michael Blakeslee from the National Association for Music Education, Steve Dobo from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Stan Freese from Disney, Kevin Lyman from Vans Warped Tour and Menzie Pittman from the Contemporary Music Center.
Chase Kroesche, guitarist and lead singer of VIA, said the experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He had a chance to play in front of and meet influential professionals in the music industry.“It was exciting and really opened my eyes to a career in music. What was a dream is becoming a reality,” he said.
But third place wasn’t the only honor the band won. Kroesche, a student at Rowland Hall, secured a guitar endorsement with Sabre Guitars, which will result in the creation of a guitar featuring his name. Bandmates Jake Bills and Alec Jackson also won individual honors. Bills, a student at Hillcrest High School, won “Best Bass” and Jackson, who attends Olympus High School, took home the title of “ Best Keyboardist.”
SchoolJam USA, a program that provides music-loving young adults the opportunity to perform and network with peers, will present VIA with a $500 cash prize, and a $500 gift to each of the band members school’s music programs.
In response to winning third place, Kroesche said the band was a little surprised.
"The competition was really stiff, but we also played really well." he said.VIA is currently in the studio recording and will perform Friday at the Studio 600 Dance Club in downtown Salt Lake City. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the band will take the stage around 8 p.m. Music and videos can be found at www.chasetheband.com.